The Pennsylvania cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are 257 miles (414 kilometers) apart. Pittsburgh is located in the state’s Southwestern corner and Philadelphia is situated on the opposite side—in the state’s Southeastern corner (very close to New Jersey and Delaware).
Regarding transportation, there is not a wide variety of ways to get from one city to the other. In fact, choices are quite limited compared to other cities. The fastest option between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is flying, which takes approximately one hour and 30 minutes (not counting the time spent in the airports) and typically costs around $460 dollars and up. The least expensive option is the bus, which takes about seven hours and costs around $30 dollars.
How to Get From Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
Although these two cities share a state, unfortunately, there are not many options for traveling between them. Travelers with children might want to plan on driving, as that offers the most flexibility. Those in a time crunch should either drive or fly, but that depends on the flight options, times offered, and exactly when you want to go. Budget travelers will want to opt for the bus.
- Train: 7 hours, 45 minutes, from $100 dollars
- Flight: 1 hour, 30 minutes from $460 dollars
- Bus: 7 hours, 30 minutes, from $29 dollars
- Car: 5 hours, 329 miles
Amtrak offers the only train service that runs from Pittsburgh’s Amtrak Station to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. It’s a direct train, however, it only runs once a day (usually departing around 7 a.m. in the morning). The ride takes approximately 7 hours and 45 minutes, so it’s a lengthy trip, but there will be Wi-Fi and power outlets to charge your devices. The cost of the train is between $100 and $200 per person, depending on the type of ticket you purchase.
It’s a fast flight from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. However, American Airlines is the only airline that flies non-stop from Pittsburgh (PIT) to Philadelphia’s International Airport (PHL). The airline offers a number of daily, direct flights (usually five) on a regional jet. The flights usually depart at 8:15 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8:40 p.m., but the schedule changes on the weekend. It’s definitely a quick, easy flight—taking on 90 minutes—but it’s not offered at a budget-friendly price. The average cost of a round-trip ticket is $500, depending on the season.
Keep in mind that other airlines, such as Jet Blue and Delta, offer connecting flights to Philadelphia, but they are not desirable options. They take much longer (over five hours), cost more, and will take you out of your way, as they connect through Boston or Detroit.
There are currently two bus options available if you need to travel from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Keep in mind that the bus takes about the same time as the train, and is much less expensive.
The Megabus departs once or twice a day from Pittsburgh (10th Street and Penn Avenue) and arrives outside of Philadelphia’s 30th Street station in Center City. On the days that offer two buses, one usually departs in the morning and the other in the late afternoon. One-way tickets cost around $30 and the trip takes seven hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic. The bus offers free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and restrooms on board.
The Greyhound Bus Company offers several options per day from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. One-way tickets range in price (from $34 to $69) for the economy, economy extra, and flexible ticket choices. Every bus has individual power outlets, free Wi-Fi and a restroom on board. The travel times vary drastically, so be sure to take note. The trip can take anywhere from six to nine hours, so choose your route carefully. This trip departs from Pittsburgh’s Intermodel Station and arrives at the Philadelphia Bus Station.
Driving from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia takes approximately five hours and can potentially offer the most flexible and straightforward mode of transportation. If you wish to stay on your own schedule, it’s the best option. The journey is mostly highway driving, and you should only expect to encounter minor traffic as you leaving Pittsburgh (especially at rush hour). However, expect to hit a lot of traffic as you approach Philadelphia. The main highway into the city (Route 76) is notoriously busy at rush hour times, and bad traffic can occur during any time of day.
What to See in Philadelphia
There is an incredible number of fascinating sights to see and fun activities to do in Philadelphia. A few of the more popular spots include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Franklin Institute and the world-class Barnes Foundation art museum. Philadelphia has an incredible culinary scene as well. You can try a (world-famous) cheesesteak, of course, but you can also dine in a number of top, award-winning restaurants as well. If you’re a sports fan, Philadelphia has a number of teams that play throughout the years: the Phillies (baseball), Flyers (ice hockey), 76-ers (basketball), and Eagles (football).
Commonly Asked Questions
Despite the fact that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh share the same state, it’s not easy to travel between these two cities. If your trip takes you to both locations, be sure to plan your transportation carefully in advance to avoid high rates for the train, bus, or plane. Be sure to plan around major holidays. For example, Independence Day (July 4th) and New Year's Day are both very popular in Philadelphia, and train tickets may be unavailable or highly-priced.